on not looking back. . .

To start with, two stories:

As a self-employed person, I used to collect all my receipts in a folder (which ended up being a small shopping bag), and recording them into their appropriate categories in Quicken around February of the next year for my tax returns. I always started each year with good intentions to record them as they were generated, but you all know how that goes, even without knowing me personally. One year I had decided that I was going to bring them with me during the Christmas holidays so that I could work on them during any driving, and during down time while staying at my mom’s or wherever we were staying. Not even a mile down the road, I realized I had left them on the floor next to the door. We did not turn around.

At the grocery store this past week, on the way to spend time with my extended family, Second Son and his girlfriend realized they had left a game at home that First Son wanted them to bring with them. We did not go back for it.

I don’t turn around, and I try really hard not to look back. (Like Golly in Harriet the Spy.)



Except when it is part of looking forward.

So what am I looking forward to this year?

I would like to focus more on the joy. My career isn’t what I had dreamed it would be, but it’s a good one, and I’m doing work I’m good at, and I’m appreciated, and I make enough money to pay my bills and live comfortably and eat well and drink good (reasonably priced, but good) wine every night. I have a closetful of nice clothes I’d like to fit into better (a first world problem if ever there was one) and healthy happy smart talented children and a husband I love more than I ever imagined possible. So much joy, so easily forgotten while wallowing in memories of thwarted dreams and personal and/or professional betrayals. What do they matter really? Why do they matter at all?

I’m not lost. I’m right here. (I’m quoting someone, but I can’t remember who. Does anyone recognize it?)


I’d like to eat more healthfully, and do the kind of exercise I need to do more consistently so I have less back pain and more energy. I know how to do this, I don’t know why I forget that this is the body I need to live from not just in. I know this. I would like to know it meaning I do it, not like I merely “know” it.

Know what I mean?

I would like to spend less time ranting and more time doing. Doing something. I have an idea, and now even a perfect potential location, for a community music school. I’d like to stop dreaming it and do something about it.

I’m tired of people doing what they want, taking what they want, without regard to who they hurt; I’m sure it’s not just me. I’d like to do something to change that, and see/encourage more people do the same. I’d like to see everyone behave ethically because it was the right thing to do, not because they thought they would go to jail, or hell, if they didn’t.

Is it enough to wake up every morning grateful?

I didn’t think so.

I don’t have to sell the beautiful leather coat Husband bought me for Christmas and donate the proceeds to charity, do I?

We followed a woman, slowly, today down three miles of 45 mph road, topping 32 mph at the bottom of a decline. (She braked.) She pulled in to the grocery store parking lot ahead of us, a grocery store parking lot renowned for its congestion, both pedestrian and vehicular. We parked, and walked to the doors, and she was still idling in the corner of the lot, trying to figure out where to go and what to do. After we had gone into the store Husband considered going out and offering to park her car for her. I thought she might panic, think he was trying to steal her car (or worse), and scream for help. How does this fit in with my desire to do more good in the world?

What parts selfishness, what parts laziness, what parts fear?

I hate “new years resolutions” because they are so cliché and so easily broken, but these are actually “resolutions” I make on a regular basis. Does that make it better? Or just more pathetic?

Anyway: More joy, more good, more gratitude. Less selfishness, less laziness, less fear.

But I’m definitely keeping the coat.

Happy New Year!




2 Responses to “on not looking back. . .”

  1. January 1, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Those aims (More joy, more good, more gratitude. Less selfishness, less laziness, less fear) sure are good ones. I wish you luck in achieving them. You are one (at least) step ahead of me – I see those as good things and don’t even try to achieve them. Of them all, I think less fear would be the one I’d most like to succeed in and also the one I’d be least likely to attempt.

    I’ll keep watching this space for evidence of outcomes! I’ve enjoyed spending 2012 with you and I’m looking forward to 2013.

    And by the way, I’d worry least about less selfishness…my perception (and I admit that I’m seeing you through your eyes) is that you’re not essentially a selfish person.

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